Hard work gives Diop another shot
By Rick Bonnell
Posted: Friday, Jan. 01, 2010
Charlotte Bobcats center DeSagana Diop (7) drives to the basket for two points as Milwaukee Bucks center Andrew Bogut (6) applies defensive pressure during first-half action at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina, Monday, December 28, 2009. (Jeff Siner/Carlotte Observer/MCT)
Twice the work for half the pay; Charlotte Bobcats center Gana Diop says he’d consider that deal.
Whether or not you believe him, appreciate his point: Work is about more than a paycheck. You want to earn it before you cash it.
“People see you making all this money and they say, ‘Oh, he doesn’t want to play,’ ’’ Diop said. “To tell the truth, I’d rather get paid half what I do and play 40 minutes.
“You’ve got pride. You don’t want to just ride the bench for 82 games. That’s not fun at all.’’
Which means the fun this season didn’t start until last week, after the Bobcats announced center Tyson Chandler had a stress reaction in his left foot. With Alexis Ajinca still in the development league, coach Larry Brown had little choice but to get Diop some steady playing time.
He hasn’t been spectacular, but he’s contributing. In Toronto Wednesday he made a block and a steal to help the Bobcats recover from an eight-point deficit. He totaled 10 points in the last two games after going scoreless in his first eight appearances this season.
And even with a 50-percent pay cut, Diop would be doing very well. He has the Bobcats’ sixth-highest salary this season at $6.03 million and he’s owed nearly $21 million over the next three seasons.
Until this week, that made Diop a ridiculously expensive, 7-foot doorstop. He wasn’t activated for six games and active but unused in 14 more.
But he had assistant coaches keeping him focused. Jeff Capel worked on his conditioning and Herb Brown dealt with his confidence.
“I just kept telling him, ‘You’re a good enough player,’ ’’ said Herb Brown. “We have a log-jam at that position (with Chandler and Nazr Mohammed ahead of him), but I said if he keeps working, there will be an opportunity.
“Now Tyson’s hurt. There’s your opportunity.’’
The coaches worked on his footwork and his leaping (Diop doesn’t always thrust through his jump, so he spends extra time with strength coach Michael Irr.) And his shot – particularly on free throws – needed lots of tuning.
Diop was receptive, showing up for training camp in far better shape than he was last season, following the trade from Dallas. And he wasn’t too proud to arrive up an extra hour early for games, to participate in drills that are mandatory for younger players.
“I was on the (early) bus with the young guys even though I’ve got nine years. They were always making fun of that.’’ Diop said.
“D.J. (Augustin) was always kidding me, saying, ‘What, are you so scared of the coaches?’ I said, ‘I’m not scared of the coaches.’ I kept going, not for anyone else, but for myself. For my career.’’
A career finally flickering back to life.
wow, i had to stop reading at diop has 21 million coming to him over the next 3 seasons. Talk about overpaid.
He has undoubtedly the worst contract in the NBA. His game is as limited as limited gets, but it is hard to fault a guy for accepting the money. He does give his best effort and handles himself like a professional, but that shouldn't be rewarded quite so generously.
yeah, he and dampier used to combine for close to 20 mill a year together in dallas. Marc Cuban is a generous man.
is his contract worse than jerome james'. its close but atleast we always knew Diop was a big body that would rebound and defend. jerome james got almost the same money for 1 strong playoff series.
generous is such a soft word... How about Mark Cuban being an idiot for overpaying two role players who can't even make a difference in a ballgame...